The Sports Bookie Blog

Hart’s Heroic Save Frustrates Liverpool

December 31st, 2007

Joe Hart Man City Goal Keeper in actionManchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart’s 86th minute wonder save denied Dirk Kuyt a late winner for Liverpool as the two Premiership teams fought out a tense 0-0 draw at Eastlands on Sunday.

Hart, at 20, kept out Kuyt’s close range header confirming his place ahead of Sweden international Andreas Isaksson as City’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Liverpool’s draw has left them 10 points behind league leaders Arsenal heading into the New Year.

Unbeaten in the league until mid-December, successive defeats against Reading and Manchester United had put Liverpool, fourth and a point ahead of their hosts, off the title pace and this clash with fifth-placed City was a frustrating test of their credentials for a top four finish.

Under former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson, City have emerged as a surprise contender for a Champions League spot and their success has been built on a formidable home record which had seen them win nine and draw one of their league games at home this season prior to the visit of Rafa Benitez’s team.

And the confidence generated by that unbeaten run was evident in the first-half as City took the initiative in a cagey affair, with both teams wary of making the first mistake. The home side’s three-man midfield behind lone striker Darius Vassell kept Liverpool penned back in their own half for long periods, but the chances they created were never of the clear-cut kind likely to test goalkeeper Jose Reina.

Each time City broke forward, their attacking forays crashed against a red wall of Jamie Carragher and Alvaro Arbeloa at the heart of the Liverpool defence and chances for Elano, Vassell and Stiliyan Petrov were all snuffed out by the visitors’ defenders. With the muscular Richard Dunne and Micah Richards giving Liverpool striker Fernando Torres a bruising afternoon, Benitez’s team struggled to get their 26 million pounds forward into goalscoring positions.

But the Spaniard’s pace was always a threat and, with Liverpool content to wait to hit City on the counter-attack, the suspicion was that Torres would get behind his markers at some stage.

And with Liverpool starting the second-half at a rapid tempo, the breakthrough appeared inevitable, but a five minute spell quickly fizzled out to nothing, despite two glorious chances in the space of a minute for Torres.

The first came in the 48th minute when Fabio Aurelio’s cross into the penalty area beat Richards at the near post and was dummied by Kuyt for Torres 12 yards out. But the former Atletico Madrid star saw his close range effort blocked.

A better chance came to Torres sixty seconds later when Steven Gerrard’s throughball released him in the area, but the striker’s chipped effort bounced agonisingly wide of the post.

When Richards conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area two minutes later following a clumsy foul on Torres, Gerrard had the perfect opportunity to score from 20 yards. But in keeping with the game, the England midfielder’s set-piece was close, but not close enough to open the scoring and give Liverpool what would have been a priceless victory.

Click to visit bet365 sportsbook, sorry, no US bettors

Were you one of the lucky punter who had their losing bets refunded by top bookie Bet365? Bet365, in a season-long promotion, will refund all losing pre-match correct score, double result or scorecast bets – on any football match – if your game finishes in a ‘bore-draw’ 0-0 result.

Ferguson Gives Arsenal ‘Massive Chance’ to Take Title

December 31st, 2007

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson now apparently believes Arsenal have a “massive chance” to take the Premiership League title.

Sir Alex backs Arsenal to take the Premiership TitleArsenal will start the New Year as league leaders two points clear of United having developed a reputation for ‘exhibition quality’ football in 2007. Their 4-1 win away to Everton on Saturday came just a matter of hours after United had surprisingly lost 2-1 at West Ham.

“I always feel if you reach New Year on top you have a massive chance,” veteran Scottish manager Ferguson said. “We still have a chance but obviously it was disappointing to lose the way we did.” United were without sickly striker Wayne Rooney against the Hammers, and, for Ferguson, the major part of the season is only just starting.

“It’s a great team we’ve got and we just have to galvanise ourselves and get the reply you always look for after a bad performance.”We need to go on a long run now because we are coming to the crucial part of the season. In many ways the season starts mushrooming. “There are league games, Champions League football and FA Cup ties. It’s a congested fixture list and you have to respond and play football properly.”

The New Year begins for United with a home game against Birmingham.

And Ferguson was confident that both Rooney and fellow sickie, Michael Carrick, would be fit to face the Blues. “Wayne and Michael should be okay, they were both suffering from a virus. Michael was taken ill during the night, the doctor attended to him on Saturday morning and there was no way he could have taken part.” Ferguson added: “Wayne was ruled out on Friday. There’s little bits going down at this time of year, quite a few clubs have got it I suppose. But hopefully they will be ready for Tuesday.”

So where can you get the best odds on Arsenal taking out the Premiership? Check out the live odds comparison at BookieLabRat.com.

Here’s a snapshot of prices on overall winner as they stand today:

Manchester United 1.84 (5/6)    at VCBet
Arsenal                  3.10 (21/10) at Betsson
Chelsea                  8.50 (15/2)  at Bet365
Liverpool              13.00 (11/1)  at BetFred   

For reviews on these top online sportsbooks and any easy comparison of what’s hot and not about these bookmaker sites check out the Sportsbook Review Directory at PokerLabRat.com.

Find the Value, Whatever You’re Betting on!

December 28th, 2007

Profitable sports bettingOpen a number of bookie accounts to make sure you grab the best price.

Whatever you do, take the best price available on all bets – not just what’s easiest!

So many people bet for convenience – there’s a sports bookmaker just three minutes walk down the road or they have money in a particular online bookie account, or even worse, they just like to play with a bookmaker’s latest mobile betting gizmo – and so they place their wagers with the same firm every time.

That’s a mug’s game! Say you fancy €100 on Liverpool to win at 5/6 (1/83). They might be available at 11/10 (2.10) elsewhere, but you can’t be arsed opening a new account. Liverpool win – and you collect your €83 winnings, while someone else gets €110 for the same outlay. What are you doing?

Unless you take value bets, you’ll lose out in the long run. Successful, profitable sports betting is all about placing winning wagers at the best value odds you can find – and with a bookie you can trust to pay you out. Always.

Click to visit BookieLabRat.com - online sportsbooks reviewed and ratedTo make it easy we assess hundreds of online sportsbooks each month and select the top 20 or so we consider “stand out”. Check out the detailed reviews and ratings on site at BookieLabRat.com

Hammers Seeking to Repeat Festive Upset over United

December 27th, 2007

Halfway through the packed four-game Christmas Premiership schedule, and Manchester United have got their noses in front of Arsenal, leading the table by just a point from the Gunners, now demoted to second place. Both teams are in action this weekend, and then again on New Year’s Day, so everything could quickly change.  

EPL Football Preview Matchday 20: Hammers Seeking to Repeat Festive Upset over United

West Ham United pulled off one the biggest upsets of last season’s festive schedule when they beat Manchester United 1-0 at Upton Park. Later in the season the Irons performed a remarkable relegation escape act which ended with a win by the same score at Old Trafford. Though the Hammers are in much better shape this time around, they are long odds to repeat that unlikely double. Alan Curbishley’s side are inconsistent at home where they are without a win in four league fixtures, drawing three by the same 1-1 scoreline, having led on each occasion.

West Ham will do well to build a lead against the Champions, who have reeled off five straight Premiership wins, including a crucial victory at Anfield, and a 4-0 stroll at Sunderland on Boxing Day. Fergie had the luxury of resting several key players in that win, including Patrice Evra, Carlos Tevez and Ryan Giggs. He may planning to utilise that trio in what could be a much harder game in East London. With Arsenal playing a tough fixture at Goodison Park, Sir Alex could see this as the perfect opportunity to build a cushion at the top of the Premiership table. PinnacleSports.com make Man Utd favourites 2.00 (-1) with West Ham 1.926 (+1).

Simon from PinnacleSports.com

Visit BookieLabRat.com for the latest online sportsbook reviews and ratings. We personally bet with all sportsbooks we recommend – and highly recommend PinnacleSports to any punter wanting great Asian Handicap betting odds! (Sorry, no US bettors can join PinnacleSports)

Can Arsenal Regain Top Spot at Fortress Goodison?

December 27th, 2007

Halfway through the packed four-game Christmas Premiership schedule, and Manchester United have got their noses in front of Arsenal, leading the table by just a point from the Gunners, now demoted to second place. Both teams are in action this weekend, and then again on New Year’s Day, so everything could quickly change. 

EPL Matchday 20 Preview: Can Arsenal Regain Top Spot at Fortress Goodison? 

Arsene Wenger appeared outwardly unfazed after his side were held to a goalless draw at Fratton Park on Boxing Day, conceding the lead in the Premiership title race to Alex Ferguson’s, Manchester United. Wenger will however, privately be concerned that the Gunners have taken just two points from their last three away games, and on Saturday face a very tough trip to in-form Everton. So far in the Christmas period the French boss has resisted the temptation to make use of Robin Van Persie, recently returned from injury, but he may feel the Dutchman can make the difference to the Londoners on the road.

Everton continued their exceptional run of form beating Bolton 2-0 at Goodison Park on Boxing Day, their sixth straight home win in all competitions. Tim Cahill was again on the score-sheet highlighting his importance to the side, while Spaniard, Mikel Arteta who had been briefly sidelined with illness, also gave another influential performance. The Toffees are maintaining their pressure on the four Champions League places, currently in sixth position. David Moyes’ side have beaten Arsenal on their last two visits by an identical 1-0 score-line, a similar result would see them cover their spread as under-dogs at PinnacleSports.com who go Everton 2.020 (0/scratch & +0.5) with Arsenal 1.909 (0/scratch & -0.5) – a market priced to less than 102%.

Simon from PinnacleSports.com

Check out the latest bookmaker review of PinnacleSports.com here
Compare the best online sportsbooks in detailed reviews and ratings here

Busting Your Bookie: Money Back Specials Do Pay Out!

December 26th, 2007

Check out new look BookieLabRat.com for sportsbook reviews and ratingsThe festive season has seen a flurry of tenners refunded as Irish Bookie, BoyleSports’ generous “Christmas Crackers” cashback offer kicked in for 2 of the Boxing Day EPL games.

BoyleSports will be refunding all losing single bets on the Chelsea v Aston Villa (4-4) and Tottenham v Fulham (5-1) matches, as both of these games treated their respective crowds to five or more goals.

About to have a punt on MAN CITY v BLACKBURN? This Money Back special offer still stands for today’s Man City v Blackburn game so check it out at BoyleSports.com if you’re expecting plenty of goal action!

Bet365’s “Bore Draw” offer will be paying out to all punters who placed pre-match correct score, double result or scorecast bets on the Portsmouth v Arsenal game, but in reality it’s little consolation for Arsenal supporters, who’d probably rather have had the win. Any football match that results in a nil all draw is an automatic cash back this season at top bookie, Bet365. This is excellent betting insurance!

The money back offers at Paddy Power, BetFred and VCBet have all played out in favour of the bookie over the feative season so far. But interestingly, these cash backs pay out more often than many bettors realise – here’s a quick run down on the Money Back Specials since October that have “beaten the bookie” at top Irish online sportsbook, PaddyPower.com.

19 Dec, 2007Once in a Blue Moon! Chelsea v Liverpool
As Andriy Shevchenko scored the last goal of this match Paddy Power refunded all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score and scorecast single bets on this match.

02 Dec, 2007An ‘Eck of a Start! Tottenham v Birmingham
As Birmingham won the match, Paddy Power refunded all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast singles on this match. This special has paid out thanks to Sebastian Larsson’s injury time winner.

27 Nov, 2007Blast From the Past! Man Utd v Sporting Lisbon
As Cristiano Ronaldo scored the last goal of this game,Paddy Power refunded all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score and scorecast single bets on this match.

21 Nov, 2007Cro-tastrophy! England v Croatia
As England failed to qualify for Euro 2008, Paddy Power refunded all losing single 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast bets on their match with Croatia.

17 Nov, 2007Heading Out!  Wales v Rep of Ireland, Scotland v Italy
Euro 2008 Qualifiers
As the last goal in the Scotland v Italy game was a header, Paddy Power refunded all losing single 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast bets on the game

03 Nov, 2007Absolutely Fabregas 2 Arsenal v Man Utd
For the second week running Paddy Power has had to pay out on Cesc Fabregas scoring at anytime in a game. Paddy Power refunded all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast singles on this match.

30 Oct, 2007Absolutely Fabregas! Liverpool v Arsenal
Paddy Power refunded all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast singles on this match as Cesc Fabregas scored!

29 Oct, 2007A King Amongst Men! Crystal Palace v Watford
As Marlon King scored the last goal of this match, Paddy Power refunded all losing single 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast bets on the match.

01 Oct, 2007Come Back & Collect Your Cash! Paddy offered your money back on all this Weekend’s English Premier League Games if either side was leading at halftime and failed to win. Paddy Power refunded all losing 1st/last goalscorer and correct score single bets on the Spurs v Aston Villa game.

Boxing Day Premiership Betting Previews

December 25th, 2007

Click to visit BookieLabRat.comHere’s the latest English Premier League football betting analysis from Simon at PinnacleSports.com. 

With so many games over such a short period of time, the Christmas period is a crucial time for Premiership sides. Some managers go as far as to say that it can make or break a season. All the top four sides won on Saturday, so nothing has changed, but as Premiership punters are now treated to three games in seven days, the festive excitement has only just begun. Make sure you treat yourself to up to 60% better Premiership betting odds at PinnacleSports.

Chelsea Dealt Goalkeeper Injury Blow

Though all the top four sides won on Saturday, there was some interesting points to be noted which will prove crucial over the action packed coming week. Chelsea looked to have been dealt another crucial injury blow, with Petr Cech’s hip problem, picked up in the 1-0 win at Blackburn. Given that his direct understudy, Carlo Cudicini, is also sidelined, third-choice goalkeeper, Hilario, could get his first Premiership start of the season on Boxing at home to Aston Villa. Chelsea are already without John Terry, Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda.

The only good news for manager, Avram Grant, is that Michael Ballack should play some part in the Christmas period, having played as substitute in the Blue’s Carling Cup win over Liverpool.

PinnacleSports make Chelsea 2.04 (-1 & -1.5) for the visit of Aston Villa 1.893 (+1 & +1.5). However, Premiership punters should note that the Villans haven’t lost in the last four Premiership meetings, and in the last ten encounters Chelsea haven’t won by more than a single goal.

Arsenal Riding Their Luck as they Maintain Top Spot

In comparison to Chelsea, the Gunners have no injury concerns, leaving Arsene Wenger a fully fit squad to choose from. The gods are certainly smiling on Arsenal, they maintained an unbeaten record at the Emirates Stadium after beating their North London rivals, Spurs 2-1 on Saturday. However, they were fortunate to do so. They squandered a 1-0 lead, before conceding a late penalty that should have given Tottenham a rare away victory against their bitter enemies. Instead, Robbie Keane blasted his spot kick at Manuel Almunia, then barely a few minutes later Arsenal went up the other end and scored.

Arsene Wenger was open about his assessment of the performance. “We weren’t at our best” the Frenchman commented. His side will need to up their game playing a difficult away game at Fratton Park on Boxing Day. Portsmouth have lost just once at home this season, but ended a good run of form with back-to-back defeats. Coach, Harry Redknapp, will be desperate to make the most of the Christmas period, knowing that he will be losing five key players to the African Cup of Nations that begins in January.

Three of Gunner’s four Premiership visits to the South Coast venue have ended in draws, but PinnacleSports make Arsenal 1.862 (-0.5) with Portsmouth 2.07 (+0.5).

Premiership Betting

December 20th, 2007

Here’s the latest match previews from Simon at Pinnacle Sports. (We rate these guys highly, especially for ultra-sharp Asian Handicap Betting odds, and no, it’s not just marketing hype – suggest you check it out to improve your sports betting profits) 

 

This weekend’s Premiership fixtures signal the start of the hectic Christmas period cramming five games into a three week period. With fifteen points up for grabs the table could change dramatically in that time, and of course in January the transfer window opens, giving clubs the opportunity to reinforce and replace.

For Premiership bettors this period is also a critical time, with such an overwhelming number of potential bets it is easy to get carried away, so remember the golden rule, always get the best price available, usually found at PinnacleSports.com, offering bettors up to 60% better Premiership betting odds.

Ramos Preparing for First North London Derby

Juande Ramos will have experienced some tense and fiery games during his time as manager of Sevilla, but nothing will have prepared him for the tension of a North London Derby. Tuesday night’s Carling Cup win at Manchester City puts Spurs in the last four of that competition, and gives the Spanish coach a chance of silverware in his first season, but he may have to negotiate the Gunners en route. He will be well aware that Tottenham haven’t beaten their dreaded rivals in 27 meetings, and you have to go even further back for an away win against Arsenal. The win at Eastlands was a further sign that Spurs are finding form; they have lost just once in eleven fixtures and could race up the table over the Christmas period.

The problem is that Arsenal are virtually unbeatable at home. Chelsea tried and failed last weekend, and in nine home games this season Arsene Wenger’s side have dropped just two points. Cesc Fabregas returned for the win against the Blues, which is a huge boost for Wenger, as he is now the side’s most influential player, while William Gallas is justifying his position of team captain, scoring the crucial goal in the 1-0 win over the Blues. Arsenal were also involved in midweek Carling Cup action, winning away at Blackburn in extra time, but Wenger had the luxury of fielding a second string side, leaving his first team fresh, unlike his opponents.

PinnacleSports make Arsenal favourites 1.980 (-1) for the lunchtime game, with Spurs 1.943 (+1).
Everton’s Progress to be Tested at Old Trafford

Of all the teams trying to displace one the Premiership’s big four sides from the Champions League places, Everton’s credentials seem to be the strongest. The Toffees are unbeaten in a dozen games, including a trip to Stamford Bridge and three tricky UEFA Cup ties. The return from injury of Tim Cahill has been critical to their form, as has been the gradual adjustment of record signing, Yakubu, to their style of play. David Moyes will be keen to get the best out of the Nigerian before he heads off for the African Cup of Nations in January. The true progress of Everton will be measured at Old Trafford on Sunday, arguably the toughest fixture in their calendar.

Everton won at the Theatre of Dreams in the first ever Premiership season, but have failed to repeat that since. They have drawn on two of the last three visits but come up against a Manchester United side on red hot form. The Red Devils have won eight successive home league games, and have conceded just twice at home this term. They will be buoyed by last weekend’s crucial win at Anfield, that keeps them one point behind league leaders, Arsenal. Alex Ferguson will know that a continuation of their form over the Christmas period could take them to the top in the New Year.

PinnacleSports make Manchester United 1.943 (-1 & -1.5) with Everton 1.980 (+1 & +1.5). Punters should note that Everton’s handicap would have been enough to cover on three of the last four visits.

Irish Bookies Battle it out for Best Cash Back Betting Special

December 20th, 2007

This weekend there are a huge selection of money back specials at the two Irish online sportsbooks we rate and recommend. Check out these cash back offers if you’re planning on betting on this weekend’s EPL or La Liga Football:

Click to visit Paddy Power Sportsbook for a look aroundClever Clogs
ARSENAL V TOTTENHAM
Saturday 12.45pm Live on Sky Sports 1

If Robin Van Persie scores the last goal of this match, then Paddy Power will refund all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast single bets on this match. Max refund is €300/£200 per customer.

Click to visit Paddy Power Bookmaker to check it outUnder the Nisteltoe
BARCELONA V REAL MADRID
Sunday 6pm Live on Sky Sports

If Ruud Van Nistelrooy scores the last goal in this game, then Paddy Power will refund all losing 1st/last goalscorer, correct score & scorecast single bets on this match. Max refund is €300/£200 per customer.

Click to visit Boyle Sports to check it outWe Can Be Heroes, Just For Juande
ARSENAL V TOTTENHAM
Premier League – Saturday 12:45pm
If Tottenham win this game with a clean sheet Boyle Sports will refund all losing single bets on this match. Max refund is €300/£200 per customer.

Click to visit Boyle Sports to check it outWizard of Oz
MAN UNITED V EVERTON
Premier League – Sunday 12pm

If Tim Cahill scores the last goal of the game Boyle Sports will refund all losing single bets on this match. Max refund is €300/£200 per customer.

Click to visit Boyle Sports to check it outMiracle of Christmas
NEWCASTLE V DERBY
Premier League – Sunday 2pm

If Derby score in both halves of this game Boyle Sports will refund all losing single bets on this match. Max refund is €300/£200 per customer.

Click to visit Boyle Sports to check it outAll Wright on the Night
BLACKBURN V CHELSEA
Premier League – Sunday 4.10pm

If Shaun Wright scores the last goal of the game,  Boyle Sports will refund all losing single bets on this match. Max refund is €300/£200 per customer.

Here’s a link to the latest sportsbook reviews for these top sportsbooks (Sorry, neither can accept US bettors). Click on any of the bookie logos above to visit these online bookies for a look around!

Bookie in Trouble for Showing Man Breasts

December 18th, 2007

Ha! Our favourite Irish bookie is back in the wars again. We think he likes being a controversial b**tard though and must hand out a bonus every time his marketing team hits a public nerve. Paddy Power has a growing reputation for his micky taking and this time his ads are being censored by some of UK’s finest… well, the London underground and Dublin Bus anyway.

We’re inclined to agree with Paddy Power’s team that poking fun of man breasts seemed like a sure fire winner. But obviously some section of society has been offended. Quite which is hard to tell. I’d understand a little more if the guy in the ad HAD actually been lactating. A bit ikky.  (But I’d have still just laughed). I did like the quip on Paddy’s comments page from a punter who requested that the guy should at least shave his chest first…and I guess that enlarged on the side of a bus or staring at you from the tube, this paunchy pin up boy could put you off the second helping of your much longed for Christmas pud.

Perhaps it’s the implication that women are all off playing bingo and abandoning their hungry kids to useless males? Who knows.

Click to visit Paddy Power - add your comment on this censorship!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check it out here on site at PaddyPower.com here, and feel free to add your comment for the team at PaddyPower.com. Should this be censored?

Mike

PS: Here’s a link to the latest Paddy Power Sportsbook Review if you want more info on this top Irish online bookmaker. (Sorry, no US bettors)

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